Capital letters are used for two main purposes in English: 

  • to show the beginning of a sentence 
  • to show that a noun is a proper noun.
  1. The first letter of every new sentence is capitalised. 
    Example: The postman delivered the parcel. It was very heavy. 
  2. The pronoun is always capitalised. 
    Example: My name is Lynne, am a teacher. 
  3. Proper nouns ( also called proper names) are the words which name specific people, organisations or places. They always start with a capital letter.

Do not capitalise common nouns.

A common noun is the name for the people, places and things around us, such as woman, cat, tree, table, church, air, river, room, etc. Common nouns can also name non-visible 'things' such as idea, luck, happiness, memory, justice, etc.

These words are not capitalised in English (although they are in German).



Capitalise titles that come before names:

I saw President Obama in Macdonalds yesterday.

.. otherwise do not capitalise them:

Barack Obama is the first black president of the USA.


Capitalise compass points if they are regions:

Do you like living in the South?

.. but do not capitalise them if they are directions:

I saw a flock of birds heading south.


Capitalise family words when they are titles or substitutes for a person's name:

The man at the edge of the photo is Uncle Pete.

.. but do not capitalise them if they are preceded by a possessive:

The man at the edge of the photo is my uncle Pete.


Capitalise building words when they are part of a specific building:

I was born in St Martins Hospital.

.. otherwise do not capitalise them:

My brother's in hospital after an accident.


Capitalise geographical features when they refer to a specific feature:

The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water on Earth.

.. otherwise do not capitalise them:

Which is the largest ocean?


Capitalise the first word in a piece of direct speech - if the direct speech is a new sentence:

"If you listen, you will learn," the teacher said. "And you will not get a detention."

.. otherwise do not capitalise it:

"If you listen," the teacher said, "you will learn."

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